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Participant Pep Talk from Grayson T.

Dear Writer,

We’re in the middle of NaNoWriMo right now. For you, that might be exciting, scary, or a combination of both.

As you read this now, you might feel a bit stuck. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement. Maybe you feel like you’re drowning in a worthless pile of word junk. Maybe you feel like your book isn’t worth the effort.

Perhaps you started out okay, thinking, "Oh, sure, I can write a novel in one month!" Most likely, that optimistic outlook has faded. It does at some point for everyone. Honestly, it’s not like writing a novel is easy.

Sometimes, you can hear a little voice in your head. Often, it will say things like, "Hey you! That novel you’re writing is absolute junk! You can’t write a single good sentence!" I have one piece of advice for you in terms of this voice: Get rid of it. All that it’s doing is slowing you down, and that’s the last thing you need. Do whatever it takes to lock up that little monster of self-doubt and perfectionism. This little voice, despite whatever it might tell you, isn’t worth listening to.

Here’s something you probably already know, but hey, it’s worth saying it again: Most people never write a novel. Even attempting to write this book of yours is a huge step. Sure, lots of people say, "Oh, yeah, I’m going to write a novel one day!" And then they list all the hundreds of excuses for why they can’t do it now. Seriously, enough with the excuses. If you really will write a novel, you’ll do it now. Excuses just aren’t necessary. So even if you don’t reach your word-count goal by the end of this month, remember: you’ve still done something special, something that most people never do.

Look, to be honest, you’re probably not going to have a Pulitzer Prize-winning book in your hands by the end of the month. But relax. You’ve still got plenty of time. You’re a kid, after all. And we all have to start somewhere. I wrote my first novel when I was seven. I have to say, it wasn’t great. Over time, though, my writing has gotten better and better. The more you write, the better writer you’ll be.

Quitting is easy. What’s not easy is actually doing it – writing a novel in one month. But don’t give up, writer. When troubles come your way, perhaps in the form of bland characters, difficult plot points, or criticism from every possible direction, take a deep breath. Step back and look at the pages that you've written. Maybe you've only written a few, or only even half of one; it doesn't matter. Just take a look at your writing. Don't critique it or let your Inner Editor come out and scold you; just think, 'Wow, I did this. I wrote this much. And if I write this much every day, or even every week, it will add up. And eventually it will make a novel.

Remember, you’ll never be the same writer again. You’ll never be the same age, or look at the world with the same eyes again. Your perspective is unique. No one writes the way you do, or has the same views as you do. That is why writing is such an amazing thing. We can express ourselves, and in doing that, learn about other people, and how they think.

Writing can sometimes feel like a lonely task. Really, though, it’s about community. It’s about the readers, the writers, and everyone in the world. It’s about sharing stories. It’s about connecting with other people and growing. It’s about changing the world for the better, even through small steps. This is what being a writer is really about.

So keep writing, Wrimo.

photo of Grayson Taylor

Grayson Taylor was born and raised in New York City and wrote his first full-length novel when he was seven. Since then, he has published four novels and is working on his fifth. He has been participating in NaNoWriMo for nearly half his life! In his spare time, Grayson reads extensively. He enjoys writing sci-fi, dystopian, and action-adventure novels and creating films. He is an entrepreneur and the founder of Taylorfilms, a film production company, and has been a professional actor since the age of three. His writings include the Fallen Nation trilogy, Future, Ice Lords, The Vampire Dictionary, The Magnet, The Council of Spirits, Betrayal, and much more. See his website at

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